Fiction - Hyssop and Hermetics, The Absinthe Literary Review

F. P. S.
a satirical short by Jarret Keene

Spanning nearly twenty years, Skulfukk is one of the oldest continuing game series. In Japan, Skulfukk is known as Kuutaichi Dracula, which roughly translates as “Rip the Face of Dracula.” Over the years, three of the games in the series were not released in the US market. One of them, a remake of the original Kuutaichi Dracula game was released in 2002 for the XR7500, a personal computer available only in Japan. This December, Deathspell Entertainment is releasing that game for the new Z-Bot under the title The Skulfukker Saga. Just in time for Christmas!

At the end of Skulfukk IX: Orgy of Pain, Our Hero, having returned to Earth, is left staring at a flaming city, evidence that alien aggressors have arrived ahead of him. There are vampires all over, from Tokyo to Timbuktu, from Stockholm to Scranton. Many people are dead. Some folks have been transformed into flesh-eating zombies, but some have actually survived. The remaining leaders of humankind have come up with a plan. In orbit, they hope to build dozens of enormous ships to carry all the remaining survivors into space, away from their ruined world. For this to happen, Our Hero—that’s you, Dear Gamer—must rescue the surviving humans and wipe out enough bloodsuckers so the ships can land safely at the spaceport.

Thus, the overall goal in the The Skulfukker Saga is to decapitate the female vampires and fornicate with their severed heads. Once you learn the basics of controlling your hydrogen blaster and power saw, it’s up to you to use your skills to eradicate and sexually humiliate the undead. A lot of the game’s challenges are actual tasks that a bio-terrorism specialist would perform, such as inoculating the citizenry and designing a crematorium. These tasks bring a neat sense of realism to the game. On the other hand, some of the jobs are just silly and fun, reminding you that this is just a game. Here are some helpful strategies.


Stage 1: Find the Serum!


You’ve been airdropped at the city’s abandoned CDC complex. Ignore the humans for now and take the elevator to the sub-basement. You’ll come to a room with two large cylinders against the wall. Destroy them with your blaster to reveal several metal containers. Inside these containers are the serum vials you’ll need to save the few surviving humans. Start the mass inoculation right away. To use the syringe, get as close as possible to a human and quickly press B, which drives the needle into the forearm. Don’t hesitate! In the world of Skulfukk, humans are on edge. If they fidget during the inoculation, the needle sometimes pierces their brains causing blood and gray matter to pour out the ears. Such mishaps can drastically lower your final score.


Stage 2: Burn the Dead!


Once the inoculation is complete, you’ll need to dispose of the infected bodies lying around the complex before they become reanimated. (This outer-space plague is NOT your grandmother’s Ebola!) Build a crematorium by downloading Nazi blueprints from the CDC’s mainframe. Remember to improvise! If you’re having trouble assembling the proper materials, try this: Break into the radiation lab on the thirteenth floor and see how hot the experimental laser gets. (Microwave corpse for three minutes—then Dustbust!) This will save you lots of time. But be careful; if you absorb too many rays, the game will end. (Tip: Use your power saw to render bodies into manageable, easier-to-incinerate chunks.)


Stage 3: Greetings from Camp Skulfukk!


You can’t have treated humans wandering into blood-hungry clutches, so grab some razor wire from the storeroom and confine them to the cafeteria, where there’s plenty of moldy bread and thin soup to go around. Don’t allow them too much room, though; they’ll only get themselves into trouble. Keep them cattle-car snug. (If a few are accidentally crushed or suffocated, incinerate them immediately.) While you’re at it, you might as well record their names and give them numbers. On second thought, they’ll probably forget their numbers, because, let’s face it, humans who are too stupid to have abandoned the planet by this point are not going to retain much. So go ahead and tattoo their arms. (Tip: There’s a needle and some ink in the main lobby’s security desk.) Okay, is everyone safe and accounted for? Great! Now you’re ready to stomp vampire boo-tay!


Stage 4: Kill, Then Kill Again!


The hydrogen blaster is your primary tool, but during the course of the game you’ll stumble upon other useful weapons. For instance, there’s the shotgun, the weapon of choice for close quarters action in Vietnam. Their effectiveness in that respect has not diminished in the least to this very day. They feed easy, never jam, and throw up a wall of lead that mows down most vampires. (Their only drawbacks are rate-of-fire and recoil.) Indeed, the shotgun will be your minute-by-minute workhorse. Other weapons include chainguns, rocket launchers, plasma rifles, and BFG 9000s. They each have their own advantages, so choose wisely.

Always focus on your front sight and shoot to kill, not to wound. Fire center of mass on all targets. Never shoot an enemy once, then stop to see how good you were. Double tap everybody, then follow up as necessary. You should pick up blood spray that confirms accuracy, even without refocusing on the target. Conserve ammo when you can, but it doesn’t make sense to die with full bandoliers.

Now that you’ve confined the humans, you can exit the complex and start your killing spree on the streets. These space vampires have it coming. After all, they wander around like rejects from a George Romero movie. Sure, the females are sort of beguiling; they possess a sleepy, reckless beauty that’s hard to ignore. Which is why we recommend getting up close and personal with the power saw so you can “burger-ize” them before raping their severed heads.

This is accomplished by jumping on the enemy and rapidly pressing A until skulls are detached from bikini-clad bodies. Now press B while moving your joystick back and forth to begin the violation. Remember to tap A afterwards to spike the head like a football. Extra points!

If necrophilia isn’t your bag, you can also earn points by finding more unusual ways of defiling the vampires’ faces. Try point-blanking their lower jaws with a shotgun. Or you might pour hydrochloric acid from the lab into their eye sockets. Yank their brains through their noses with a rusty pair of pliers. Creativity is always rewarded, both in this life and in the one that occurs outside of The Skulfukker Saga.

Some advice on shooting: Put these creatures out of their misery. Waste the dirt bags. Mow them down. Dispatch all nasties. Unleash the BFG and give them a taste of what human technology can do. Kill them now—it may save your life later. Blow a hole through the monsters. Blast these puppies. Shoot out their brains. Decapitate them with rockets. Explode their heads. Crush their skulls. Kill everything on the lower level. Exterminate the brutes on the upper level. Kill these dudes while you are still invulnerable. Kill them all from the doorway. Stay on top of the stairs and kill them. Kill these guys without leaving the section of the floor you are on. Kill them all and go to the back of the alcove. Take these guys out and exit this room through the door in the west wall. Continue down the stairs till you come to a small room with a floor covered in blood. Get on your knees and lick the blood. The floor is a lake of blood and there are specters running around in it. When the rocket goes in the goat’s head, it passes down a tube and strikes the President’s brain. After the first round he screams; the second round finishes him off. Don’t feel bad about that. The President is definitely happier than you are to be finished. If you stop to enjoy the cinematic glory of this advancing wall of death, you will be toast. A toast to the vanquished: Here’s blood in your eye! The hall is full of barrels of explosive toxic waste. Ignore them—to stop is to die. Eliminate them, then go around the corner. Destroy anything that gets in your way and jump on the transporter. The President’s head is on a stick. When he is dead, go back down the stairs and there will be a Pain Elemental on your left. The wall will rise revealing four commandos. Kill the Imp. Kill all that you can see. Grab the case of ammo and the blue armor. The blood tastes like the mouth of God. An arena like a pit, at the bottom of which is Arachnotron and toxic waste. A box of shells. Keep moving or you are dead meat. Use the plasma rifle to sweep the room. Give them a BFG enema. Here you will find a panel in the wall to your left with a goat’s skull and a pentagram on it. Be alert for the specter waiting for you there and thrash it. Send him back to hell. When he shows his ugly mug, redecorate it for him. If you did a good job, everything here should be dead. Sweep the room with the chaingun until you see blood spatter, then stay on it until the bullets begin to hit the wall behind. Repeat till the monster is dead. Congratulations, you’ve beaten the final boss!


Stage 5: The End?


Once you’ve cleared the spaceport of vampires, you will be treated to the game’s ending credits. Yes, it’s Miller time! Give your trigger finger a break, sit back, relax, and just imagine how fully realized the next Skulfukk installment will be as the Deathspell developers become more and more confident with the nuts and bolts of the Z-Bot system!

In short, the intense challenges and pure simple fun of this product are sure to attract anyone who loves games. It’s our hope that these strategies will help you to better understand—and enjoy—the latest and greatest of the first-person shooters. Happy hunting!


© 2002 Jarret Keene

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